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Liverpool beat Europe's elite in key defensive area, per UEFA report

Liverpool beat the cream of Europe in a key defensive area, per a UEFA Technical report. The report cover last season’s UEFA Champions League.

UEFA released their Technical report for the 2019/20 Champions League season on Monday. They went into the details – sometimes very subtle – of each side and how they tick.

And there was an interesting defensive note about Liverpool in there. Last season, the Reds topped the competition when it came to tackling. They won the highest percentage of their duels, suggesting a team that’s truly elite in that regard.

Gameplan

You can pair this stat with another – Liverpool had the highest average possession in the competition. Now we’ve got a real statistical idea of how the Reds went about things last season.

Liverpool were clearly patient in their passing, holding enjoying more of the ball than any other team. But this is a team known for their pressing, after all.

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And this report suggests Liverpool were near-impeccable in that regard. They held onto the ball well and pushed teams back, then hit them with incredible accuracy to win the ball whenever they lost it.

That is, at its core, the Liverpool gameplan. But you do have to wonder – were Liverpool too careful with that pressing? Topping the charts for percentage suggests they either picked their moments or were just absolutely remarkable in quality.

 

The latter is possible, of course, but less likely than the first. This, after all, wasn’t as successful a campaign as the previous one. And we know the tactics changed.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

As the report says, Liverpool averaged 50% possession in the year they won the competition. That rose to 67% last year in an unsuccessful attempt to win it. That is clearly a more considered approach – did that make its way into their tackling, too?

This year will tell. Liverpool will hope to regain their trophy and that could well lead to a slightly more chaotic game as in 18/19.

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